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Business Consulting For The 21st Century Via A Holistic & Intelligent Approach

Biting off more than you can chew

Answered => “Why do so many people with no restaurant experience think they can run restaurants?” on Quora.

=> My answer…

Can I add a couple things?

1) The “know nothing” is not exclusive to restaurants. There are plenty of people who open a business without the direct experience. Those crash & burn events aren’t as high-profile.

1.5) That said, restaurants are high stakes (no pun intended) and probably tend to draw those who are big on ego and cash flow, and low on common sense. It would be interesting to know if restaurant success/failure correlates to Testosterone.

2) What makes the restaurant biz great is also what makes it do damn difficult – *everything* becomes a branding opportunity, a differentiator in The Guest Experience. Fonts on menus, the soap in the bathroom, the service, the food, the wine list, the lighting, the web site, etc., etc., etc. A commodity business it is not. Few industries have that many brand details to orchestrate. And as the question notes, fewer still are up to the task of dealing with the devil of all those details. On top of all that vision, there is still day-to-day execution with literally little margin – except in alcohol markup – for error.

2.5) That said, it would be interesting to know if restaurant success/failure correlates to the number of investors, non-silent/silent partners, etc. Would it be inappropriate for me to mention the classic adage “Too many chef in the kitchen…”? :) My point being, two partners might be ideal, while three or four creates too many visions pulling in too many directions. And then once the infighting starts the end is just around the corner.

To directly answer the question, I think it’s mainly ego. People who have been successful at X, Y & Z believe that opening a restaurant would be “cool” and well within their capabilities. Why buy a six figure car when you can strut around your own restaurant? Whether solo or with a team of similar investors they all have the same mindset. Unfortunately, being a successful midget manufacture or middle to upper level corporate yes man/woman has little to do with creating a successful Guest Experience in a restaurant setting.

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